I've been hiding on Ravelry, knitting and dealing with various boring health issues (I'm OK now).
The stash-busting is going well. I found a stray skein of Noro Kureyon (colour 139) which I turned into a top-down ribbed beanie. I love the colours but have plenty of Noro beanies already. I probably will send it off as my contribution to the Ravelry International stash-busting exchange.
I finished the Lollipop top-down beanie. In the end there was only enough yarn for a baby beanie but I'm sure it will go to a good cause.
I also finished and felted the Messenger Bag for the Australian Bag Lady swap. It was another project that didn't work out quite as intended but I think in the end it was ok. My original plan was to make the straps adjustable in length but they ended up felting into a sort of fat roll that could not take a buckle. So I decided to make the strap into a "design feature" by sewing the two ends as loops - I checked with my swapee as to the exact length she wanted the strap. I secured the loops with jeans buttons and also used these buttons to add interest to the flap.
I found two skeins of of grey and black Paton's Patonyle that I remember buying on sale at Cleggs some time last year. It took me a while to get these socks going; it was a very Goldilocks experience. Initially I tried to use a 2mm circular needle but it was too small and the tension was too tight; then I tried some 2.25mm and 2.50mm DPNs but they were too fidgety to get going properly with and I decided that I preferred knitting socks using the Magic Loop method. I had read lots of good things about the Knitpicks Harmony needles and Tapestry Craft were having a free-postage sale, so I ordered two circulars - 2.25mm and 2.5mm. The 2.5mm was too big and the tension was too loose but the 2.25mm needle turned out to be just right! Considering how small a 1 mm is, it's amazing what a difference 0.25mm makes.
I have to agree with all the positive reports of the Harmony needles; the points are a nice shiny hard wood which is neither too slippery nor too grippy, and the connecting cable is very flexible, with no snags.
After trying and frogging several patterns I decided to stick with my favourite plain toe-up ribbed socks because in the end this is what I like to wear.